Since You Asked

Several people have wondered what I think about the election of Katharine Jefferts Schori as the next Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, and the short answer is, “I don’t know.” I’ll certainly pray for her and her family, for the leadership infrastructure of the Episcopal Church, and for new health for the Anglican Communion as a whole.

But I haven’t seen any reliable sample of her theological reasoning, and at this time we need sound, deep theological reasoning more than just about any other characteristic.

I hear reports that she has a lovely, gracious, attentive, focused personality. She has a pilot’s license and flies her own airplane. To state the obvious, she’s a woman, and there is good in U. S. Episcopalians not assuming that a Presiding Bishop must be male.

At the same time, if she can’t back up her winsome character traits with weighty theological reasoning, all the positives won’t add up to enough to preserve even marginally cooperative relations with the Anglican Communion outside the U.S., nor to bolster the theological integrity of the Episcopal Church. For a variety of cultural reasons, the Episcopal Church in the U.S. can’t quite believe that anyone can (or should) take theological truth seriously, and tends to settle for lo-cal substitutes (convention conflict as “Less Filling!” vs. “Tastes Great!”); the vital (and I mean that word emphatically) importance of theology for the church remains in inconvenient truth. I hope I’ll learn that Bishop Jefferts Schori can handle that aspect of her new calling.

4 thoughts on “Since You Asked

  1. She went to CDSP, where Louis Weil teaches.

    I consider Louis Weil, on cultural issues, to be a crank.

    Thererfore I expect Bishop Katherine to be, on cultural issues, a crank-clone.

    But I like the mention of the Millennium Development Goals in her (otherwise lame) candidate statement.

  2. Timothy,

    If we are all to be branded with the crank-ness of professors at the schools we have attended, I imagine that we are all in some degree of trouble! I have no knowledge about any possible overlaps between Bishop Jefferts Schori and Louis Weil, and I’ll be interested to see. Whatever the case, I’m hoping the results do not add up to a presumption that the rest of us are clones of our professors. I guess I’d like some credit for discernment, creativity, and the ongoing work of Spirit in my own studies, and I’ve certainly seen such non-duplicating education happen with others.

  3. Hi! I’m Frankie Ward and with Elaine Graham and Heather Walton we’re the speakers at the British and Irish Association of Practical Theology conference that meets in Manchester July 18 – 20th this year, with the theme of theological reflection. I’d like to do something at the conference on blogging as a method of theological reflection – and would be really grateful if you could answer any or all of these questions – and forward them on to anyone else you know who might be prepared to answer them too. I need responses, if possible, by July 3rd …
    I don’t blog (yet!) so responses to my email address at although if there’s any way that some dialogue can be generated within whatever blogging community you belong to, it would be great to be notified of any links etc that I might otherwise miss.
    Many thanks in anticipation …

    1. How long have you been blogging?
    2. What got you started?
    3. Do you have a history of diary/journal/log writing beforehand?
    4. How in your own mind do you negotiate the boundary between private and public? E.g. are there things that you would not put on your blog that you would put in a journal?
    5. How do you decide? What criteria do you use for inclusion/exclusion?
    6. How much time, on average, do you spend blogging each day or week?
    7. How many other people do you actively engage with – e.g. are part of your blog community?
    8. Who is your readership – literally; as far as you know?
    9. and metaphorically? Do you imagine someone to whom you write/with whom you engage?
    10. What counts as successful blogging?
    11. What does blogging offer as a method of theological reflection?
    a. Its opportunities
    b. Its draw backs
    12. What potential do you see for blogging as a method of theological reflection?
    13. Do you know of examples of theological education programmes where students are required to keep a learning journal and blog as a form of journal?
    14. Blogging and gender: do you think gender makes any difference to any of the above questions?

  4. AKMA –

    We need “deep, sound theological reasoning” more than anything else? I’m not sure I can agree. I find Rowan Cantaur to be one of the deepest, soundest theological thinkers I’ve ever read, and yet he cannot lead his way out of a paper sack. On the other hand, I suspect that Pope Benedict is also a very deep sound theological thinker, and yet I don’t think the model that stems from that theololgical thinking necessarily works either. (I grant in advance this may be a false comparison.) Perhaps you can explain more how deep sound theological thinking can get us out of this chaos and, quoting the Psalm for this Sunday, “to the harbor [we] are bound for.” I suspect rather we need deep sound *spiritual* thinking that translates into real reconilication, or at least concrete acts that can lead to reconciliation.


    Bob S.

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